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San Francisco's Saint Frank Coffee comes to Menlo Park

Uploaded: Aug 20, 2019
San Francisco third-wave coffee shop Saint Frank Coffee is now pouring single-origin espressos from a 250-square-foot outdoor kiosk in Menlo Park.

Saint Frank opened on Monday at 1018 Alma St., across the street from the Caltrain station. The coffee shop and adjacent public plaza were required as a public benefit with the approval of Alma Station, a 25,000-square-foot, three-story development that will house employees of former Google chairman Eric Schmidt's philanthropic foundation.

The new Saint Frank coffee kiosk, left, behind the Menlo Park Caltrain station. Photo by Jacqueline Ramseyer.

Kevin Bohlin, a former middle school teacher who caught the coffee "obsession bug," started Saint Frank as an outdoor pop-up in San Francisco in the summer of 2013. He opened his first brick-and-mortar cafe in Russian Hill that fall and added a private cafe inside Facebook in Menlo Park in 2016.

He said he was approached several years ago by members of the project management group working on the Alma Street development and was excited to expand Saint Frank’s Peninsula presence.

Saint Frank sources beans from small growers in "areas that aren't yet well known: for growing coffee, such as Nepal, Thailand, East Africa and Bolivia. Bohlin also connects with local nonprofits in these regions, such as a group working to end human trafficking in Nepal, with the goal of having an impact beyond coffee.

"By helping connect these communities to a world market, it's economically, socially and environmentally stimulating to the area,: he said.

Saint Frank Menlo Park serves pour overs, espressos, lattes and other coffee drinks, including the cafe's "kaffe tonic," a shot of espresso mixed with Fever Tree tonic water.

Baristas prepare coffee drinks inside Saint Frank Menlo Park on Monday, Aug. 19. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

New to the Menlo Park cafe is a "kaffe cola," an espresso shot paired with Saint Frank's housemade cola (made from 50 natural ingredients, Bohlin said). Down the line, look for frozen coffee and chai drinks and other experiments. Bohlin has tasked the Alma Street and Facebook Saint Frank teams with "R&D for exploring and creating things.

"San Francisco is pretty set into its path. Here, we've designed things in the interior in such a way that we can keep innovating and changing different things and being more flexible," he said. "This (cafe) is going to see a lot of playing -- a lot of creative play with the coffees and different drinks."

For food, there's a small selection of pastries from The Midwife and the Baker in Mountain View.

Saint Frank is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 9:47 am

They also have great loose leaf teas from Song Tea in SF.

Posted by Save Menlo Park, a resident of Downtown North,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 1:35 pm

What a great coffee shop. Don't expect a nice cozy place to sit while drinking your coffee. It's a walk-up window only. And if you run to the shop to sip some coffee while waiting for your train, drink up fast because beverages are not allowed on the train. Of course if you work in Eric's office building you will have a nice warm desk to sit at while sipping your coffee. That is why there is no seating in the coffee shop.

This is what the neighbors got when Eric Schmidt, the owner of the office building that will house the Eric Schmidt Family Foundation, bulldozed the local businesses, like the laundromat, popular restaurant, hair salon, nail salon, etc.. We got a coffee shop that doesn't even have seating. It's all good because he is trying to save Nantucket, that quaint summer resort town/tourist destination in Massachusetts. That is one of his philanthropic endeavors (ReMain Nantucket) that will operate out of his new office building.

Yes, the neighbors are thrilled with the new coffee shop.

Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm

Beverages are definitely allowed on Caltrain (even alcoholic ones). I certainly expect their target market to be commuters, either ones who want coffee for their train ride, or ones who just got off the train and are walking to their office.

I miss the old restaurant and store too. But it's not exactly crazy to open a coffee stall across the street from a busy commuter train station.

Posted by Sophie, a resident of Gemello,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 11:27 pm

Why this philanthropy doesn't offer some program to support small business in the neighborhood? After all, they need to take care of local folks first, right?

Posted by Charlotte, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Aug 29, 2019 at 1:31 pm

How exciting! I hadn't seen this place yet, but now I'll check it out -- wonderful to have another good coffee spot in Menlo Park! I miss Cindy's Nails, but am pleasantly surprised to see that there's any retail activity back in this spot -- I'd assumed it would all be offices.

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